Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter
University of Adelaide
Associates in Australia
International Associates
About the CSSM
Research & Publications
Employment Opportunities
Useful Information
Hot Topics in Physics
Contact Us
Text Zoom: S | M | L

The ARC Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter  

Enquiries: +61 8 8313 3533  

Location: Level 1, Physics Building, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA  

Mailing Address: CSSM, Rm. 126, Lvl 1 Physics Building, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia  
The University of Adelaide

Prof. Anthony W. Thomas

Ph.D (Flin.), D.Sc. (Adel.), FAA, FAIP, CSci, FInstP

Skip to:   Current Positions | Research Interests | Publications | Contact | Bio

  • Career Biography:

    Anthony Thomas was born in Adelaide in 1949. He attended Adelaide Boys High School, winning the Thomas Price Scholarship (as top student in the State in the Leaving Examinations) in 1966. He was awarded the BHP Medal in 1967 as the top student in South Australia in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in the (new) Matriculation Examinations.

    After obtaining a PhD at Flinders University (where he was awarded the University Medal in 1971), he took a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Canada, stimulated by the imminent start of operations at TRIUMF. In 1975 he was offered one of the two foundation positions in the Theory Group (along with Harold Fearing) at the new laboratory, which he accepted subject to a one-year period of leave taken in the Theory Division of CERN.

    He served as secretary to the Experiment Evaluation Committee, which had responsibility for evaluating proposals for beam time, and then chaired it from 1981 to 1987. In 1982 he took leave from TRIUMF to go to CERN as a Staff Member the Theory Division. While there he served a term on the Proton Synchrotron and Synchro-Cyclotron Committee.

    In 1983 an offer came for the Chair of Physics in Adelaide, which he accepted. He arrived in Adelaide in February 1984. He later served as Deputy Chairman of the Physics Department and for four years as the first Head of the new Department of Physics and Mathematical Physics. He also served as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science, and was elected to the University Council from 1991 to 1997.

    In 1989 he was appointed Elder Professor of Physics - the sixth person to hold the chair first held in 1886 by Sir William Bragg. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987 and the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) in 1990. In 1987 he won the Walter Boas Medal (of the Australian Institute of Physics, the AIP), and in 1991 the Inaugural Silver Jubilee Commemoration Medal of Flinders University.

    From 1991 to 1993 he served as President of the Australian Institute of Physics. This was an exciting period during which the first Strategic Plan for Physics in Australia was created and his involvement in the AIP continued as chair of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee as well as serving from time to time on the Boas Medal Selection Committee.

    From 1991 to 1996 he held an Australian Research Council Senior Research Fellowship and from 1996 to 1999 an ARC Special Investigator Award. In 1992 he was awarded a Research prize by the Alexander von Humboldt Research Foundation.

    Prof. Thomas served on the Council of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) from 1992 to 1995, including a term as Vice-President from 1994 to 1995.

    Following the recommendation of the Strategic Plan for Physics it was proposed to hold a competition to host the proposed National Institute for Theoretical Physics. The National Committee for Physics (of the AAS) awarded the honour to Adelaide University, in partnership with the ANU, UNSW and Flinders University in 1995, with Prof. Thomas as Director. Since that time the NITP has hosted well over 50 workshops and conferences at the partner institutions and elsewhere.

    Under the framework of the NITP, a bid was prepared for a more specialized research centre working in nuclear and particle theory. This led to the award of the Australian Research Council Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM for short) in 1997.

    The CSSM has been widely recognised as one of the world's major centres for research in theoretical subatomic physics and details of its staff, its workshops, visitor program, publications and other activities may be found on the Centre's web pages http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/cssm/index.html

    Prof. Thomas was elected a Fellow of the (UK) Institute of Physics in 1996. In 1997 the University of Adelaide recognised his achievements through the award of the Stephen Cole the Elder Prize for Scholarship. In the same year the Academy of Science awarded him the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal. This was followed by the Harrie Massey Medal (of the UK Institute of Physics) in 2000.

    In 2004, Prof. Thomas was invited to take up the position of Chief Scientist and Associate Director for Theoretical and Computational Physics at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, one of the US Department of Energy's two major fundamental nuclear physics laboratories. As well as having line management responsibility for over 300 scientists and engineers he held responsibility for the quality of entire scientific program of the laboratory, with its more than 1200 international scientific users.

    Under his leadership the US$300M upgrade of the laboratory, to double its energy and add a new experimental hall was accorded the top priority in the 2007 Long Range Plan for US Nuclear Science.

    In 2009 Prof. Thomas returned to the University of Adelaide as an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, one of only two appointed from outside Australia. He is now Director of the University Research Centre for Complex Systems and the Structure of Matter, which incorporates the CSSM but aims for a more diverse research program building upon the expertise in mathematical modelling and high performance computing that has developed around CSSM.

    Most recently, Prof. Thomas is Associate Director of Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Particle Physics at the Tera-scale. This Centre, which was formed by a national consortium involving Adelaide, Melbourne, Monash and Sydney Universities, will coordinate Australian research at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

    In 2014 he was recognised South Australian Scientist of the Year.

    Prof. Thomas's work has received more than 18,000 citations in the HEP-Spires data-base, with an h-index of 72. In addition to the numerous awards and prizes mentioned earlier, Prof. Thomas was awarded a Centenary Medal (2003).

    Prof. Thomas has served on numerous national and international committees. He was Secretary of Commission C12 (Nuclear Physics) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) from 1996 to 2002; he served as Chair of the National Committee for Physics (AAS) and the IUCF Visiting Committee and he also served on the Beirat at the Nuclear Physics Institute of FZ-Jülich. He served as the Chair of the Working Group on International Cooperation (WG.9) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from its inauguration in 2005 until 2011 and now serves as past-Chair. In that role he also served on the OECD Global Science Forum Working Group on Nuclear Physics (2006-2008), which prepared a world-wide roadmap for research facilities in fundamental nuclear science. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Asian Nuclear Physics Association.

Last Modified: February 2015

[home] [personnel] [workshops & Seminars] [about] [research] [news] [employment] [useful information] [hot topics in physics] [contact us]